FIFA 20: Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo set to be axed as highest rated players on the game

It looks like it’s game over for the best players on the world, with a surprising new name taking over.

Alastair Pusinelli by Alastair Pusinelli

The new season is just a few weeks away, and the appetite grows for the latest edition of the biggest football game on the planet, FIFA 20.

After a difficult year on FIFA 19, the pressure is on for EA Sports, but they made a fantastic start, announcing at E3 the introduction of Volta Football.

Volta’s essentially a throwback to the FIFA Street and looked to have got fans back on side.

It was all going well for EA, but a significant move from rivals Pro Evolution Soccer has thrown things wide open.

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Hello Piemonte Calcio?

Yes, if you haven’t heard, PES 2020 have secured exclusive rights for the Juventus brand for the foreseeable future. The name, crest, kits and stadium will not appear on FIFA 20 – the first time in 25 years that EA have lost the licensing to the Italian powerhouse.

Yep – PES 2020 will be the only game you can see CR7 in a Juve kit this year.

The club will be renamed Piemonte Calcio on FIFA 20, and although the player likenesses and ratings will remain, it won’t be the same playing as Piemonte on Career Mode, kick-off and even more bizarre in the Champions League.

Bigger than it seems

As well as Juventus, Pro Evo have penned deals with Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

None of the other clubs are exclusive to Konami’s title, although Barca’s Camp Nou and the Allianz Arena of Bayern will not appear in FIFA this year.

Despite having Messi & Ronaldo on board, Konami is are still pushing younger talent like Bayern star Serge Gnabry… So, not all is lost, right?

Well, the difficulty that EA has now is that the two best players in the world, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo play for clubs signed with Konami.

Messi will be on the PES 2020 cover, with CR7 appearing on the front of the Juventus club edition of the game.

The two have been the highest-rated players on the game ever since FIFA 09, when Iker Casillas was on top with a 91 overall.

READ MORE: Six players who are way better in FIFA than in real life

You could argue this is a better time than any to lose the two giants, with Ronaldo 34 years of age and Messi now 32. They may have only one season at the top left.

That being said, who can step up to the plate?

Let battle commence

The biggest takeaway from last season is that the rest of the field have closed the gap on the duo, if not caught up completely.

It all started with the 2019 Ballon d’Or – awarded to Real Madrid and Croatia star Luka Modric.

It was hard to argue against the central midfielder after winning a third consecutive Champions League title and dragging his country to the World Cup final.

READ MORE: Real Madrid FIFA 20 ratings predictions

Modric will be 34 in September, so don’t expect him to take their FIFA crown, especially after a difficult season for Real Madrid.

Fortunately, other men have also stepped up – especially from the Premier League.

Raheem Sterling will receive a FIFA 20 upgrade – but will it be enough to take him to the top? The five Player of the Year awards were split between three players.

Champions League winner Virgil van Dijk took the PFA Players’ Player of the Year & Premier League Player of the Season prize.

Premier League, FA Cup & League Cup champ Sterling claimed both the PFA Young Player of the Year & FWA Football of the Year, whilst former Chelsea ace Eden Hazard picked up the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year.

Hazard followed up his successful season with the Blues, in which he won the Europa League, with an £89 million move to Real Madrid to become the latest Galactico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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Who’s your money on?

The betting odds are the best guidance to who is the favourite, and judging by the Ballon d’Or odds, van Dijk looks set to walk away with it.

After transforming Liverpool defence in just 18 months to win the Champions League take them within a point of the Premier League title, the Dutchman is the bookies’ favourite to win the coveted award – and would be the first defender to do so since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, who claimed the prize just a few months after winning the World Cup with Italy.

Virgil van Dijk appearing in a FIFA 20 teaser

Van Dijk also showed off his international prowess last term with the Netherlands, who also needed a rebuilding job after missing out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

Fast forward a year, and the Dutch topped their UEFA Nations League qualifying group – knocking out Germany – and reached the final of the competition.

Hazard and Sterling meanwhile are joint seventh in running – with goalkeeper Alisson Becker receiving shorter odds than Ronaldo by some betting agencies.

READ MORE: Why Virgil van Dijk should be the highest rated player on the game

The Brazilian was of course part of the Liverpool Champions League winning team, but he also kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League (21) and aided Brazil to Copa America success over the summer.

Only one goalkeeper has ever won the Ballon d’Or, former Russian great Lev Yashin, and that was back in 1963.

Given Alisson is only rated at 87 on FIFA 19, and is the eighth best goalkeeper on the game, don’t expect him to jump all the way top on FIFA 20.

Other names in the hat for the Ballon d’Or and potential FIFA 20 greatness are fellow Champions League winners Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, with Kylian Mbappe’s 39-goal season for Paris Saint-Germain also earning him recognition.

Make a statement

Something you may have not have heard of is why does the best player on FIFA 20 have to be a man?

After a fantastic Women’s World Cup, two names from the winning US side could be in the running to upset the apple cart.

Megan Rapinoe took home the Golden Ball and Golden Boot alongside her World Cup winner’s medal, and has helped enhance the reputation for the women’s game. She is currently rated at 92 on FIFA 19, and despite being 34 herself, would be a popular choice.

Alex Morgan (L) & Megan Rapinoe (R) starring in FIFA 19’s Journey modeAlex Morgan is the USWNT co-captain alongside Rapinoe, and only missed out on the Golden Boot by minutes, having scored as many goals (six) and notched the same amount of assists (three) as her teammate.

Morgan was a prominent feature in the Journey on FIFA 19, so has a great relationship with EA, and is still in the prime of her career having only just turned 30.

Given how EA Sports have pushed women’s football, extending this to mixed Volta sides on FIFA 20, it wouldn’t be a bad move to a female at the fore of the ratings.

Messi and Ronaldo’s time is up, and it’s time for EA to get behind another superstar.

READ MORE: New Volta street mode will feature online

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Alastair Pusinelli

First console: GameBoy Color / Favourite Game: Assassin's Creed 2 / Currently playing: Football Manager 2020

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